The LDS Restorationist Movement, including the Mormon Churches
Part 2: Questions & criticisms from non-Mormons:
Verbal attacks on Joseph Smith & Book of Mormon.
Attacks on Joseph Smith:
Joseph Smith was the founder of the LDS church. The LDS teaches that Smith
translated golden plates into the Book of Mormon.
An American, James Adair, wrote a book A history of the American Indians in 1775.
It attempted to prove that natives had descended from the ancient Israelites. This theme
is also found in the Book of Mormon. On Pages 377 & 378 of Adair's book, there is a series of
phrases describing Indian fortifications. These phrases are identical to the phrases which
describe the construction of defensive forts in Chapters 48-50 and 53 of the Book of Alma.
(The Book of Alma is one part of the Book of Mormon.) This would
seem to indicate that
Joseph Smith copied parts of Adair's book verbatim into the Book of Mormon.|
||A hearing in Bainbridge NY in 1826 was held to examine Joseph Smith's
involvement in an alleged fraud associated with a
treasure hunt for Spanish silver. Court records are ambiguous; the hearing was either
concluded with a decision that Smith was an impostor or that he should be ushered out of
A common belief is that if Smith had not been a fraud he would have retranslated the Book of Lehi from the original tablets after his first translation went missing.|
||Some critics have suggested that Smith was an occultist:|
||The technique that he used to translate the golden plates strongly resemble a popular
divinatory method at the time, in which seer stones were placed in a hat and gazed upon.
Smith is known to have possessed a seer stone.
Smith visited the site of the plates on the date of the Autumn Equinox, an important
day of celebration.
Attacks on the Book of Mormon, Mormon rituals, etc:
The LDS church considers the Book of Mormon to be a direct revelation from God that has been preserved without error.
The book includes many alleged details of ancient civilizations in North America. Many skeptical historians, anthropologists
and other researchers have concluded that the Book was not inspired by God,
is not free of errors, does not
agree with archaeological remains left by earlier cultures. The church also continues to
suffer attacks from both non-Mormons and ex-Mormons who are not academics. They often portray
Joseph Smith as a follower of pagan folk magic, a fraud and/or a fake. They also attack
the present-day leadership of the LDS church in various ways - sometimes with little
regard for accuracy. Some criticisms are:
The LDS church believes that the Book of Mormon was translated literally from the
inscriptions on the golden tablets which were made about the fourth century
CE. But the Book contains
many phrases that are word-for-word identical to those found in the King James version of the Bible -- including translations into English which contain errors.
The latter was
completed in 1611 CE (over a millennium later). Some critics feel that this evidence proves
that portions of the Book of Mormon were copied from the KJV Bible, not translated from
||There are several instances where forgeries by Christian scribes which appear in the
King James version of the Bible also appear in the Book of Mormon. Two examples are:|
||1 John 5:7 which appears in 3 Nephi 11:27,36
Mark 16:16 which appears in 3 Nephi 11:33-34
||There are several instances where mistranslations in the King James Version of the Bible
are copied over into the Book of Mormon:|
||Isaiah 4:5 and 2 Nephi 14:5 refer to a "defense"; it should read
||Isaiah 5:25 and 2 Nephi 15:25 refer to the word "torn"; it should read
||There are several passages in the Book of Mormon that have been criticize as
||Some critics claim that Nephi had a compass when they traveled to America. Compasses
had not been invented at the time of their journey (600 BCE). Others point out that the
compass mentioned in the book of Mormon was a spiritual guidance device, not like the
modern direction finding tool. It was a magical device which was operated by faith.
It directed believers to game, food,
Nephi is also described as having a steel bow. Laban is described in 1 Nephi 4:9 as
using a steel sword. Some critics claim that steel was not invented until after 600
However, very small quantities of steel (iron with 0.1% to 2% carbon content) were
manufactured from the beginning of the iron age (circa 1700 BCE in Europe). So it is
possible that a steel bow and sword could have been in use circa 600 BCE.
The Book of Ether (15:29-31) describes a battle in which Shiz was wounded and fainted
from loss of blood. An opponent cut off the Shiz' head. Shiz then raised up upon his
hands, fell, struggled for breath and died. Both the act of raising himself and
breathing requires a working connection to a brain. So
it is unreasonable to expect that Shiz could have struggled for breath as the book
indicates. However, since his spinal reflexes might still have been intact, Shiz might
have appeared to an observer as attempting to rise up and breathe.|
According to the Book of Mormon, Hill Cumorah "refers to a hill
and surrounding area where the final battle between the Nephites and
Lamanites took place, resulting in the annihilation of the Nephite
people." 7 LDS President Harold B. Lee wrote:
"On these hills there transpired some of the greatest events in the
world's history. This is the place where the great dramatic events which
brought about the restoration of the gospel took place..." |
in western New York state is currently owned by the LDS. The Hill Cumorah Pageant is held
there every summer. If the battle occurred here, then one would expect that
many artifacts from the battle would have been found by archaeologists.
In fact, none have ever been discovered. This indicates that a battle never
occurred at this location. The Hill Cumorah iwhere the plates were
allegedly found does not appear to be a defensive
fortification, but rather an Indian burial mound similar to many others in the area.
It is important to bear in mind that Joseph Smith never claimed that
this location in New York state was the Hill Cumorah mentioned in the Book of Mormon.
Mormon beliefs about the origins of Native Americans do not agree with findings by
genetic researchers. With few exceptions, Native Americans are most closely related (in terms of
blood factors, genetics, and physical characteristics) to the peoples of Mongolia and elsewhere in
Asia. Their ancestors did not come from Israel or anywhere else in the Middle East.|
||A thread of racism appears in the Book of Mormon and in past
policies of the LDS. Such teachings appear incompatible with the rest of the Christian
2 Nephi 5:21 refers to God cursing some of the early
inhabitants of America, the Lamanites: "And he had caused the cursing to
come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For
behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become
like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair
and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord
God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them."
The sixth President of the LDS church was Joseph Fielding Smith --
not to be confused with the founder of the church, Joseph Smith. He wrote:
"There is a reason why one
man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born
white with great advantages. The reason is that we once had an estate
before we came here, and were obedient, more or less, to the laws that
were given us there. Those who were faithful in all things there
received greater blessings here, and those who were not faithful
received less." 8.9
Prior to 1978, the LDS Church taught the racist revelation that blacks have been cursed by God with the
"mark of Ham." As Elder Mark E. Petersen of the LDS
Council of the Twelve Apostles said in 1954:
"At least in the cases
of the Lamanites and the Negro we have the definite word of the Lord Himself
that he placed a dark skin upon them as a curse -- as a punishment and
as a sign to all others. He forbade intermarriage with them under threat
of extension of the curse. And He certainly segregated the descendants
of Cain when He cursed the Negro as to the Priesthood, and drew an
absolute line. You may even say He dropped an Iron curtain there..."
To their credit, the LDS abandoned their racist past in 1978 when
they eliminated the barrier which prevented men with African-American
ancestry from being ordained into the priesthood.
According to many Evangelical web sites that discuss the LDS Church, a common
Mormon concept is that God is married to a person called
"Heavenly Mother." This belief is rejected by many Christians who cite the Old
Testament verse of Jeremiah 7:18. God expressed his anger at some of the people of Judah
who "make cakes for the Queen of Heaven" The implication is that there is
no such person, and that the people are worshiping a non-existent Pagan Goddess. In Jeremiah 44:24-28,
Jeremiah prophesized that God would exterminate the people of Judah in Egypt because they
promised to "burn incense and pour out drink offerings to the Queen of
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
"United Methodists adopt guidelines for Mormons joining church,"
"Presbyterians and Latter-day Saints," Office of Ecumenical and
Interfaith Relations, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), 100 Witherspoon St.,
Louisville, KY 40202-1396. See:
"LDS, Baptists hold 'gracious' talks; But questions stress churches'
doctrinal conflict," at:
- Feature Story, "Mormons
insisting that they are Christians" 1998-MAR-2, available at:
(Search the web site for "Mormon")
- Walter Martin, The Kingdom of the Cults, Bethany House, (1985), P. 166-226
"American Religious Identification Survey," City University of
New York, at: http://www.gc.cuny.edu/
"The Hill Cumorah Pageant:
America's Witness for Christ," at:
Tom Mathews, "An example for possible future changes in policy relating
to women and gays," at:
- Joseph Fielding Smith, "Doctrines of Salvation," Page 61.
Elizabeth Mehren, "Romney's 2008 Bid Faces Issue of Faith. Massachusetts'
GOP governor has political promise, but voters may not embrace a Mormon,"
LA Times, 2006-OCT-10, at:
Copyright © 1997 to 2013 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2013-OCT-15
Author: B.A. Robinson